This hurricane season has been one of the worse in history, and for some Hendrix students, it was especially devastating as their hometowns were damaged in the storm.
Typically, the season officially begins on June 1 and ends on November 30. However, this year saw its first storm form as early as April 19, with tropical storm Arlene. Since then, there have been a total of four storms, and eight different hurricanes.
Of the eight hurricanes, five have been categorized as major. This is the highest number of major hurricanes to occur in a season since 2010. So far, billions of dollars have been devoted to the damages caused by three of the major hurricanes of the season, Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Late in August, Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane of the 2017 season. Classified as a Category 4 storm, it was also the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. Though Harvey dissipated before hitting Texas, it set the record for the most rainfall dropped by a tropical hurricane in the nation. The flooding caused by Harvey had catastrophic effects, resulting in rescue efforts, displacement and home damage for hundreds of thousands of people.
Hurricane Harvey hit close to home for many Hendrix students, both figuratively and literally. One of those students is Junior Leah Boehl, who lives approximately 40 miles out from Houston in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Her family chose not to evacuate and were present in their home whenever Harvey hit. Luckily, her family members remained safe. During the four days of downpour, they experience only a small amount of flooding in their home.
“We’re definitely a lot more fortunate than everyone else,” Boehl said.
Even so, her family will have some repairs to make to their house, such as replacing the sheet rock and water-damaged hardwood floors.
Master’s student Greg Kelley and his family had a similar experience in their hometown Cyprus, Texas. They live in a flood zone, due to a creek that runs through their backyard. His family chose to stay in their home during Hurricane Harvey as well. The power went out in their home for two days, and was restored soon after. They experienced seven and a half feet of flooding, and were stuck in their home for a week. Thankfully, Kelley’s home is stationed 10 feet above the ground.
“My little brother did get to leave the house [during the week they were flooded in], when his friend came and picked him up in a kayak,” Kelley said.
Due to the fact that other means of travel were not possible, many people resorted to the use of kayaks and boats to get around during the period of intense flooding.
Freshman Cannon Tasker’s hometown The Woodlands, Texas was also affected by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. His parents remained in their home when the storm hit, choosing not evacuate. Fortunately, their house only had an inch of flooding. But some of Tasker’s family members, such as his aunt and uncle, were not as lucky. Their home is in shambles, and they are currently residing with Tasker’s parents.
Tasker’s brother-in-law, who is a member of the Houston Police Department, was a direct part of boat rescue efforts to help Texans around the city of Houston. Tasker’s dad was directly involved in efforts to help neighbors and others in their town.
“I had my dad going out and helping. I had my brother-in-law going out and helping. So it was hard being here, just sitting back and watching it all when I really wanted to be helping my community and helping my school,” Tasker said.
Each of these students stated that it was hard being at Hendrix while Hurricane Harvey affected their families, friends, and homes. But the sense of community they’ve all seen within their hometowns has been moving.
“It was definitely cool to see how everyone came together,” Tasker said.
The sense of community shown by Hendrix, in support of people who were directly affected by Hurricane Harvey, has been touching to many affected students as well.
“I teared up whenever I saw people here doing a fundraiser for it,” Boehl said.
Although Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the state of Texas, its citizens are coming together in support of one another and in an effort to repair the place that they call home.